Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 8, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Police called after Catherine McKenna’s office vandalized with vulgar slur

McKenna said during a news conference she wants to have ‘better discussions’ in politics

Newly re-elected Liberal MP Catherine McKenna says she has notified police after someone spray-painted a vulgar slur on the front of her Ottawa Centre campaign office.

Staff arriving at the office Thursday morning found the four-letter obscenity scrawled in red paint over a photo of the environment minister.

A visibly shaken McKenna held a news conference to respond to the incident, saying it sends the wrong message to the women and girls of all ages who worked on her campaign.

“It isn’t about me. It’s about what kind of politics we want in our country,” McKenna said after striding past the word “c—t” written in block letters across a large image of her face on the front window of her Ottawa campaign office.

“It’s the same as the trolls on Twitter. It needs to stop. We need to come together as a country and have real discussions about real issues, but doing it in a way without vitriol, without hate and without anger.”

McKenna has been the subject of online vitriol over her central role in the Liberal government’s push to address climate change, including its move to impose a carbon tax on provinces without a similar measure that affected those with conservative governments.

ALSO READ: Liberal candidate’s election sign in B.C. vandalized with blackface

During the election campaign, she spoke to The Canadian Press about how the anonymous online abuse has escalated into in-person verbal assaults. The threats had grown to a level where McKenna sometimes requires a security detail, a level of protection cabinet ministers don’t usually receive.

She says she wants to have “better discussions” in politics.

“I have two daughters. I have so many young women, and women on my campaign of all ages. They believe in politics and so do I,” said McKenna.

“It’s time for everyone to take a deep breath, myself included, and I think we need to think about how we do better.”

McKenna’s political opponents at Queen’s Park agreed, setting aside their, at times, bitter political differences over dealing with climate change.

On Twitter, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said of the attack: “Disgusting. There is no place in Canada for hate like this. While we may disagree on matters, we must always respect one another.”

Ford was frequently attacked by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the election campaign, while the premier has also waged war against the federal carbon tax, often pitting him against McKenna, the environment minister.

Ford’s online comments didn’t go unnoticed: McKenna responded with a tweet of thanks, saying “we can disagree but let’s do it respectfully.”

Lisa MacLeod, who holds multiple portfolios in the Ford cabinet and represents an Ottawa provincial riding, said on Twitter she was offering McKenna “my full support in demanding these visceral attacks end.

“Politics should be about debating ideas. Vandalism, threats and personal insults are unacceptable in Canadian politics. My heart breaks on how she will have to explain this to her children.”

In another Twitter posting, one of McKenna’s Liberal colleagues called the act “absolutely appalling.”

“It takes a lot of courage to put your name on a ballot. Despite party stripes, no candidate should face this kind of hatred,” wrote Gagan Sikand, who won re-election in his Toronto-area riding on Monday.

McKenna captured nearly 49 per cent of the vote in Ottawa Centre, giving her a margin of victory of about 15,000 votes, based on preliminary results from Elections Canada.

McKenna also noted that women represented all of the main parties in her riding — “That is great. That is progress,” she said — but noted that others have faced hateful attacks in Ottawa, including Jews, Muslims, blacks and members of the LGBTQ community.

“We all stand together against this. It doesn’t matter who you are.”

McKenna said she was taking a break after a hard campaign to spend some quality time with her family. She said she thought the “overheated rhetoric” of the campaign had subsided, but she was wrong.

She said she hopes the person who spray-painted her face is caught.

“Maybe they’ll find out who did it. I think people have to be held responsible for their actions,” she said.

“Speaking to the person who did this or the people who spread hate and vitriol online: maybe the first thing that person should do is think about whether you use that kind of language for your mother, your sister, your girlfriend, your daughter.”

Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Surrey’s new top cop doesn’t believe residents have lost faith in the RCMP

Brian Edwards will take over the reins of Canada’s largest RCMP detachment on Jan. 6

Surrey Schools to sell property meant for school due to close proximity to pretrial

Sale funds would go toward purchasing new potential school site

Surrey mother voices concerns about Highway 15 intersection after crash

Kim Squirell’s daughter and her friend injured in collision at 176 Street and 40 Avenue

Eight Surrey groups to share $375K in grant money

The not-for-profit groups focus on public safety and the environment

SURREY HISTORY: The 1914 Sedro-Woolley bank robbery and its connection to Cloverdale

Columnist Sue Bryant looks back at the Pacific Northwest’s biggest bank heist of 1914 and its entanglement with the Surrey area

MAP: Christmas light displays in Surrey and beyond

Send us pictures of your National Lampoon-style lit-up homes, nativity scenes or North Pole playlands

‘British Columbians are paying too much’: Eby directs ICBC to delay rate application

Attorney General David Eby calls for delay in order to see how two reforms play out

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ in B.C. waters

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Couple who bought $120k banana duct-taped to wall say artwork will be ‘iconic’

Pair compared it to Warhol’s ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans,’ which was initially ‘met with mockery’

Race to replace Andrew Scheer could be a crowded one

Many familiar faces, such as Maxime Bernier, Jason Kenney, Doug Ford and Kevin O’Leary, have said no

National cold case hunters take on search for missing man last seen in B.C.

Kristofer Couture’s car was found at Chilliwack trailhead in January but there’s been no sign since

What’s happening: week of Dec. 12

Events and community listings for North Delta

Owner surrenders dogs chained up outside among scrap metal, garbage to BC SPCA

Shepherd-breed dogs were living in ‘deplorable conditions.’

Most Read